Oakley (20, 37), Austin (55)
Morton brought down the curtain on the 2017/18 Ladbrokes Championship campaign with a flat 3-0 loss to Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Cappielown this afternoon.
Nathan Austin added to George Oakley’s first-half double as the Highland outfit inflicted a defeat that saw the Ton finish seventh in the league table.
Much more than it being an end to a solitary season, the weekend proved to be the end of an era with chairman Douglas Rae OBE stepping down to be replaced by son Crawford.
Manager Jim Duffy also departed by mutual consent while longest-seving player Thomas O’Ware made it clear he would be leaving for pastures new via an interview in the national press.
The defender missed out on a farewell appearance after failing a late fitness test and his absence was one of five changes to the team that lost to St Mirren seven days earlier.
O’Ware was replaced by Darren Hynes, in what was the right-back’s first senior appearance, with Michael Doyle moved in one to fill the centre-back berth.
Like the club vice captain, Scott Tiffoney and Jack Iredale were late withdrawals due to injury and their places were filled by Robert Thomson and Mark Russell, while Gary Fraser came in for Michael Tidser.
The Ton’s play-off hopes had been officially extinguished by St Mirren seven days earlier, but Inverness Caley approached the fixture with an outside chance of finishing in the top four dependent on Dunfermline’s result.
There was an intensity and urgency about their play that the hosts failed to match, and star man Iain Vigurs offered a signal of their intent by cracking the underside of the bar with a fine 18th-minute free-kick.
They didn’t have long to wait to go ahead, though, and it was from another deadball situation, Liam Polworth deliver an inswingng corner from the left that Oakley bundled inside the near post.
Partick Thistle loan midfielder Gary Fraser was the Ton’s primary goal threat on the day and pulled a low drive narrowly wide of the left post after Gary Oliver had picked him out with a cute backheel.
But it was Inverness who would find the net again when, on 37 minutes, Oakley burst clear down the right onto a Charlie Trafford pass and fires past Conor Brennan at his near post with the aid of a deflection off Michael Doyle.
Both sides exchanged brilliant free-kicks in the final minutes of the half. For the visitors, Vigurs was again denied by the woodwork, while Fraser was thwarted by an incredible Mark Ridgers save at his top right.
Ridgers was proving unbeatable and foiled Harkins in similar fashion seven minutes into the second half by springing to his left to turn the stand-in skipper’s free-kick onto the bar before blocking McHugh’s follow up.
The width of woodwork denied Morton again on 53 minutes, Thomson dragging an angled shot across Ridgers and against the base of the right post after finding himself in space inside the box.
Any hopes of a comeback were eradicated shortly afterwards when Austin tapped into an empty net after darting in behind onto Polworth’s dinked pass over the top and seeing his initial shot blocked by Brennan.
The result was not enough for John Robertson’s side to secure a play-off place, while it saw the Ton slip below Queen of the South into seventh place to mark a disappointing end to the season.
36. Hynes 6. Doyle 5. Lamie 17. Russell
23. Fraser 3. Murdoch 14. Harkins 10. Thomson
7. Oliver 11. McHugh
Subs used: 21. Langan (for Fraser, 68), 25. Ross (for Murdoch, 68), and 38. Eardley (for McHugh, 81).
Subs not used: 28. Purdue, 1. Gaston (gk).
Booked: Harkins (7), Murdoch (28).
Inverness C.T. (442): Ridgers; Seedorf, McKay, Donaldson (Calder, 74), Tremarco; Polworth, Trafford (Elbouzedi, 82), Vigurs, Chalmers; Oakley, Austin (Bell, 62).
Subs not used: Mulraney, Mackay, Brown, Esson (gk).
Booked: Trafford (59).
Referee: John Beaton
Image: David Bell